Creating crop marks for a photo

If you have a photograph that you would like to print and cut out to a specific size using proper crop marks, you will quickly find out that Photoshop is not much help. This is because it cannot export PDFs with crop marks and drawing them in is a pain in the ass.

Photo with proper crop marks

These crop marks extend 3mm into each side of the photo.

What to do? A little pre-work in Photoshop and the rest is InDesign magic. Here are the steps I use:

  • Resize the image to 6mm more than the final desired dimension on the side that matters. Link the other side’s dimension so the image retains its aspect ratio (don’t worry if this side doesn’t increase exactly 6mm).For example, if your image is originally 409,79×274,32mm and you want the final result to be 200mm in width, just resize the image so the width is 206mm and the height is whatever Photoshop decides it should be to retain the image’s aspect ratio (137,9 in this case).
  • Create an InDesign document where both the width AND the height are 6mm less than the image’s new dimensions. Add a 3mm bleed to each side of the document.Following the example above, your InDesign document should be 200×131,9mm and a 3mm bleed.
  • Place your image in the document and center it. It should fit like a glove.
  • Export the document as a PDF (File -> Adobe PDF Presets -> [PDF/X-1a:2011]. In the dialogue box under “Marks and Bleeds” check off “Crop Marks” and “Use Document Bleed Settings”.
  • Click “Export” and you’re done!

Manual Mode + Auto-ISO

In Apperture Priority Mode, I can control the Aperture and ISO. The camera sets the shutter speed automatically.

In Shutter Priority Mode, I can control the Shutter and ISO. The camera sets the apperture automatically.

In P Mode, I can control the ISO. The camera sets the shutter speed and aperture automatically.

Seems like there are a few possibilities missing. Actually half of them are missing, but we can access them by turning on Auto-ISO. Take a look at the following chart to see the extra possibilities this provides us with:

Exposure modes with Auto-ISO

Of special importance is the way turning on Auto-ISO affects the Manual Mode, which actually ceases to be fully manual. In fact, according to Ken Rockwell this is a firmware defect and it seems the trick works only on Nikon cameras. What Ken fails to realize is that there are certain benefits of having manual control of the shutter speed and aperture, while leaving the camera to set the ISO. I suspect that Nikon has done this on purpose.

SLR Lounge has a very nice article about this. Make sure to watch the video too!

* For Nikon D80 I had to go into the Custom Settings Menu (the pencil icon) to turn on Auto-ISO. More detailed instructions for Auto-ISO on the D80 can be found here.

Locking the ISO in Manual mode (i.e. “disabling” Auto-ISO)

Here is a nice “add-on” to Auto-ISO + Manual Mode: I normally have my AE-L/AF-L button set to AE lock hold (this can be set under the Custom Settings Menu)  which means that pressing the button will lock:

  1. the aperture when in Shutter Priority mode
  2. the shutter when in Aperture Priority mode
  3. the ISO when in Manual mode (they should have called the button AD-L/AF-L/AI-L)

The third point is the one that concerns us right now. Let’s explore this further.

If I had Auto-ISO + Manual mode enabled and I pointed my camera at a very dark subject my ISO would automatically adjust to 1600 (the highest in this camera, though a limit can also be set under the ISO Auto setting). Now if I pressed my AE-L/AF-L button the ISO would remain locked at 1600 even if I pointed at a very bright subject, like the sun.

I’ll probably never use the function in exactly that way, but let’s look at a second/inverse example, which could be very useful:

If I had Auto-ISO + Manual mode enabled and I pointed my camera at a very bright subject my ISO would automatically adjust to 100 (the lowest in this camera). Now if I pressed my AE-L/AF-L button the ISO would remain locked at 100 even if I pointed at a very dark subject.

This would be useful when working with a tripod. Since camera shake wouldn’t be an issue I would like my ISO to be as low as possible. Instead of having to go into the camera’s Menu and turning off Auto-ISO I could instead point my camera at a very bright subject and lock the ISO there before I start the session. If the camera is already perfectly in place on the tripod I could shine my phone’s light (maybe even use a flashlight app) towards the camera to get the ISO I want to lock.

The only problem with this is that it would be virtually impossible to set the ISO to something specific between the 100 and 1600 points. If the camera could show its auto-updating ISO number it would make this a lot easier. It would actually be a useful feature to have in general. By the way I’ve tried manually setting the ISO while I have Auto-ISO turned on and it did nothing. I even tried locking the selected ISO in different ways but it seems that selecting Auto-ISO makes the dedicated ISO button completely obsolete.

Photoshop and Adobe Camera Raw

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) is an image editing application. It exists both as a plugin in Photoshop and as a crucial part of Lightroom. It was originally built to work exclusively on raw image files — that is, raw image data captured by your camera’s sensor, with no processing of any kind — but is now capable of working with other image types as well.

There are three versions of ACR:

  • Lightroom ACR
  • External ACR (pre-processor)
  • Internal ACR (filter)

Lightroom uses — you guessed it — Lightroom ACR. Photoshop is more complicated and this is what I want to explore in this article. It’s important to note that for the most part making adjustments in one type of ACR doesn’t have any effect on the others.1 In fact Lightroom ACR and External ACR seem to be exactly the same; I’ve only differentiated them because of the aforementioned discrepancy. Internal ACR is the odd version.

Adobe Camera Raw

1The only time one ACR’s adjustmentd shows up in another ACR is when opening an image as a Smart Object in Photoshop from within Lightroom. Photoshop will open the image in internal ACR with the adjustment sliders as they were in Lightroom.

Raw files in external ACR

Whenever you open a raw image file type that ACR supports, Photoshop will automatically open it in external ACR. Here you can make adjustments to your heart’s content.

  • If you regret your changes:
    • exit out of ACR by clicking Cancel or start over by holding the alt key (opt on Mac) and clicking on Reset.
  • If you are satisfied with your changes do one of the following:
    • save them2 and exit out of ACR by clicking on Done.
    • save them and start working on the image in “normal” Photoshop by clicking on Open Image.
    • don’t save them but start working on the image in “normal” Photoshop with the changes applied by holding the alt key (opt on Mac) and clicking on Open Copy.
    • save them on a new image with a different name and/or settings, while keeping the original unchanged by clicking on the Save Image… button.

After using one of the methods that opens the image in “normal” Photoshop you will not have the ability to re-open the image in external ACR for further editing while working in “normal” Photoshop. You can still achieve this by re-opening the file as usual, but if you want the aforementioned ability (and I highly recommend it) you can get it this way:

  • save your changes and start working on the image in “normal” Photoshop while maintaining the ability to return to external ACR for further adjustments by holding the shift key (cmd on Mac, I think) and choosing Open Object.3

This only works on raw file types. You can get creative using this method and have multiple layers using external ACR by dragging in said layers from different documents.

2 When I speak of ACR saving your changes I mean that the next time you open that raw file in external ACR, all of the sliders will be as you left them. It’s still perfectly fine to reset them and go back to the original image settings. However you cannot do this by holding the alt key (opt on Mac) and clicking on Reset, as this will only reset the settings to what they were when you opened the image. If you want to reset all settings completely back to what they were when they came out of the camera you can turn off the settings for each panel (Basic, Tone Curve, Detail, etc) back to their defaults by clicking on the small Toggle button to the bottom right of the image or using the shortcut ctrl+alt+p (cmd+opt+p on Mac). This also works on files that you have saved with a different name and settings as long as the file is still a raw image type.

3 This is not the same as opening a file regularly into “normal” Photoshop, turning it into a Smart Object and adding a filter to it. This goes into the realm of internal ACR which is covered further down.

Other file types in external ACR

Raw image file types are not the only ones that can be opened in external ACR. To open other file types, such as JPGs or even multilayer TIFFs/PSDs (these will be flattened to a single layer) in external ACR, simply choose File -> Open As… (note this is not the same as File -> Open…)  in Photoshop and then choose Camera Raw  from the drop-down menu.

Even for non-raw images you will get better quality results using ACR (either internal or external — there is technically no difference in quality as I explain further down) than working in “normal” Photoshop. Check out this article and watch the video at the end.

Internal ACR

Internal ACR is the Camera Raw version that works as a filter and which we can add to any layer in “normal” Photoshop. It involves turning said layer into a Smart Object by right clicking on the layer’s title in the Layers panel and choosing Convert to Smart Object. Then simply choose Filter -> Camera Raw Filter…

This version of ACR is not available to truly raw images and it has less features than external ACR. However it still results in better image quality than using Photoshop’s other filters or adjustment layers. All of this is explained below.

Differences between internal and external ACR

Technically speaking no version of ACR is better than another when it comes to image quality. This is also true in practice when working on non-raw images since the files already have a lot less information in them.

Realize that if a raw image file is opened in “normal” Photoshop AND not as a Smart Object, it has also been converted to bit-mapped format and lost a lot of its information. Converting it to a Smart Object at this point will not make a difference. The image will only open in internal ACR at this point (through the use of the ACR filter).

Truly raw images will only open in external ACR.

In addition, there are actually less features available to internal ACR. A clear representation is shown in the image below and I would recommend playing with external ACR to see what each “extra” feature is about. Snapshots is especially useful to me.

Internal vs. External ACR


My workflow and recommendations

I always shoot raw and import my photos straight into Lightroom. From there I make my adjustments, which are never destructive since Lightroom by its nature only works with ACR.

If I need to achieve something that is only possible in Photoshop I choose Edit In -> Open as Smart Object in Photoshop… (if you get a weird pop-up, see this post for the solution). At this point the image is not truly raw anymore, but there is no way to access any of Photoshop’s exclusive features while working with a truly raw image anyway. At least by choosing to open the image as a Smart Object I am already ready to make any extra adjustments just in case (remember that adjustments in ACR always give the best results even for non-raw images). From there I can work with Photoshop to my heart’s content and hit save when I am done to automatically import my new file into Lightroom.

Calibrate multiple monitors with a Spyder4express™

Anyone who is serious about the color accuracy of their photo or video projects knows the importance of display calibration. Using a hardware sensor is the way to go, but if you have multiple monitors and opt for one of DataColor’s popular Spyder products, you better be ready to shell out some serious cash for a more high-end version. That’s because the software for the entry-level Spyder4express limits calibration to a single display… or does it? The other Spyders do have additional advantages over the Spyder4express, but by using a bit of ingenuity it is entirely possible to calibrate multiple monitors using this little guy.


The way the Spyder4express software keeps its users from calibrating multiple monitors is quite simple. After it finishes running its process on the first monitor, a color profile is created for that display. So far so good — this is the way every calibration software works. But as the user attempts to calibrate the second monitor s/he will run into the first obstacle: the program window seems to be “stuck” on the same monitor as before, meaning it will only be possible to calibrate on that monitor. This part’s easy to get past. On Windows simply open the Displays control panel and set the second monitor as the main display. The Spyder4express software will only calibrate whatever display is set as the main display.

The big problem comes after you calibrate the second monitor and realize that the color profile created has overwritten the color profile for the first monitor. There is no way to name color profiles from within the Spyder4express’s software — it will automatically name every profile it creates “Spyder4Express.icm”, overwriting any earlier profile with the same name.



The way to get past this limitation of the Spyder4Express’s software is to rename each color profile right after creation. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as renaming the file, although that’s a good start. Navigate to your system color folder (in Windows 8 it’s C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\drivers\color), find Spyder4Express.icm and give it a more descriptive name.

Now the next step involves renaming the profile’s “internal name,” the name stored within the file — the name the Spyder4Express’s software actually cares about. And that’s not so straightforward, at least not on a PC. I believe that Macs come with a pre-installed software that allows modifying a profile’s internal name, but PC users will first have to download Andrew Shepherd’s ICC Profile Toolkit.

After installing the program, it might be a good idea to take a look at the ReadMe file for a short lesson on how to use it. It mentions tooltips and a context menu, but for some reason I couldn’t see either even after following the troubleshooting directions. Not a big deal. Simply navigate to the folder where the program was installed and run ChangeDescription.exe.

From there you should be able to open the profile you want to edit and make the changes. But let’s back up a little because to be honest even that didn’t go so smoothly for me. Strangely enough I was not able to browse to my system color folder from the Open dialog box. No problem, I just copied the path (C:\Program Files (x86)\ICC Profile Toolkit) into the “File name” field, hit enter and voilà!

Oh and for quickly switching between profiles may I suggest a free program by X-Rite called “DisplayProfile.” I will not link directly to it because I want you to access it from this guide, which explains yet another good reason to use “DisplayProfile” AND gives you an extra bonus. Curious? Click.

Image Optimization for the web

When creating images for online use your adventure probably begins in Photoshop. Choosing File -> Save for Web… allows precise optimization of your images to achieve just the right balance between quality and file size. But you shouldn’t stop there! There are tons of image optimization programs and websites out there and these can usually help you to compress your image files even more, resulting in faster page load times.

Since there are so many solutions out there, I couldn’t possibly review them all. Furthermore every image is different so your results many vary. What you will find here is just my recommendation for the best PNG, GIF, and JPG optimizers, based on my results after trying some of the more popular solutions.


TinyPNG was the winner for me! Images were reduced in file size anywhere from 9% – 91%. That’s a big margin, but it was also 29 images that I tested. The amount of reduction didn’t seem to have anything to do with the initial file sizes.


I tested only four images with RIOT. In the end I was able to reduce file sizes anywhere from 62% – 96%. Again, the original file sizes didn’t seem to have anything to do with how much RIOT was able to compress them.


I thought I had found my optimal optimizer in the form of Imagemin (the official Grunt image optimzation task) but I quickly noticed that it was somehow very unpredictable.  While some JPGs were optimized beautifully, others became horribly pixelated. What’s more, this behavior seemed completely random: every time I ran the script I got different results for different images. In the end I decided to forego optimizing past Photoshop’s Save for Web… dialog box since I find badly optimized JPGs very ugly to look at. If anyone knows of a good JPG optimizer please leave a comment and tell me about it!

Avoid CSS @import

From Google Developers:

CSS @import allows stylesheets to import other stylesheets. When CSS @import is used from an external stylesheet, the browser is unable to download the stylesheets in parallel, which adds additional round-trip times to the overall page load.

Instead of @import, use a tag for each stylesheet. This allows the browser to download stylesheets in parallel, which results in faster page load times.

Grunt: the ultimate task runner for web developers.

Grunt Simplifying your workflow is an invaluable undertaking that can be applied to any type of work. Web development is no exception, and the Javascript task runner Grunt is probably the most popular tool for automating monotonous tasks and speeding up your workflow. Like many people I was scared of the command line at first so I opted for a task runner with a GUI, namely Prepros. Eventually I realized I needed more power, which even the paid version of Prepros couldn’t provide. So I decided to give Grunt a go and I followed Chris Coyier’s guide “Grunt for People Who Think Things Like Grunt are Weird and Hard.” As the name suggests it was very beginner-friendly, which is why I don’t feel I need to write my own guide. What you will find here is a supplement to Chris’s guide with a few more in-depth explanations of the few things I had trouble with, as well as some of my own modifications. Before we jump into it, here is a list of some of the things Grunt can do for you:

  • Compile LESS, SASS, SCSS, Compass, and loads of other languages
  • Autoprefix CSS files
  • Code-hinting
  • Concatenate and minify various file types
  • Optimize images
  • Build image sprites and SVG icons automatically (!)
  • Start a server

And a hell of a lot more! After installing Grunt and its dependencies, it’s up to you to configure the tasks you want it to carry out for each project and when. From there, it’s a breeze: simply type grunt into the command line and it all happens automagically. Alternatively, specify a single task by typing grunt [task name]. For example, grunt concat concatenates everything you’ve configured Grunt to concatenate in your project. Alternatively, grunt:css would concatenate only CSS files. If this all sounds confusing, I recommend just jumping into it and things will start making sense.

Installing Compass

One of the things Chris Coyier doesn’t mention in his article is how to incorporate Compass into a Grunt workflow. As Christian Krammer mentioned in the article’s comments section, “if you use Compass (e.g. you use mixins like border-radius, which you really should), install grunt-contrib-compass instead of the mentioned grunt-contrib-sass. It’s basically the same with the same configuration variables.” The thing is that Compass has some dependencies so incorporating it into Grunt is not as straightforward as most other plugins. Compass The first thing you need to do is check if you have Ruby installed on your system and if not, install it. To do all that I recommend following the short Ruby on Rails Installation tutorial at tutorialspoint. Basically if you’re on OS X or Linus you probably already have Ruby installed, and if you’re on Windows, you can download and install it from RubyInstaller. The next step is setting up the Ruby environment. RubyInstaller should have created a shortcut called “Start Command Prompt with Ruby” inside the Start menu. Click on it and then type gem update –system && gem install compass into the command prompt. You don’t have to be in your project’s directory to do this. After installing the Ruby environment, it should be available to all your projects and you can install grunt-contrib-compass like any other plugin.

Installing LiveReload

LiveReload The last thing Chris Coyier shows us in his article is how to incorporate LiveReload into our Grunt installation. Unfortunately it didn’t go so smoothly for me. I suspect it’s because I’m running my site from a DesktopServer server, but I haven’t tested on different servers to confirm this. What happened was I got a pop-up message from the LiveReload plug-in when I tried to activate it: “Could not connect to LiveReload server. Please make sure that a compatible LiveReload server is running. (We recommend guard-livereload, until LiveReload 2 comes to your platform.)” If you run into the same problem you can solve the issue by actually installing the LiveReload app in addition to the browser plug-in. That also means you can forego the extra code (options: {livereload: true,}) in gruntfile.js. Add your project folder to the LiveReload app and remember: you need to have both the app running and the browser plug-in activated in order for live changes to show in the browser.


You can get pretty specific about what you want Grunt to do and when. Suppose you wanted to concatenate both Javascript and CSS files, so that you would end up with production.js and production.css. The plugin grunt-contrib-concat Chris Coyier recommends works on a variety of file types, so all you need to do is define the Javascript and CSS subtasks separately and then call them by their name. An example will make it easier to understand:

concat: { // Javascript js: { src: [ ‘js/*.js’,], dest: ‘js/build/production.js’, }, // CSS css: { src: [ ‘css/style1.css’, ‘css/style2.css’, ], dest: ‘css/build/production.css’, }, },

Now anytime you want to concatenate only Javascript, you can call concat:js. When you want to concatenate only CSS, you can call concat:css.1 And if you want to concatenate everything, just call concat. 1 You don’t have to name these subtasks js and css; call them whatever you want. 

Final thoughts

Grunt is an extremely powerful task manager guaranteed to speed up your workflow. Installing things like Node.js and Ruby is a one-time thing. After that, you’ll be ready to install different plugins for different projects with just a single line of code. Configure Gruntfile.js (why not use a previous project as a template?) and you’re done! It’s actually simpler than it seems and will make your life easier in the long run.

Disk error!

I recently cloned my main hard drive and re-installed Windows on it. I then put the cloned drive into an  external enclosure to retrieve my backed-up files and was greeted by a scary message: “You need to format the disk before you can use it.” I put the drive back into my computer to see if it would boot into Windows and got another unpleasant message: “A disk read error occurred Press Ctrl + Alt + Del to restart.”

Going back into Windows using my healthy drive, I accessed the “sick” drive using Disk Manager. It turned out my cloned drive had somehow changed its file system from NTFS to RAW. I googled a bit and there were lots of solutions based on downloading a program to recover (maybe) the files and giving up on using the drive as a bootable disk. Finally I found a dead simple solution that put my disk back into 100% working order.

If you ever get these messages, don’t panic! Simply run a command prompt (Start -> Run -> type “cmd”) and then type “chkdsk x: /f” where “x” is the drive letter of the sick disk. In my case, it took a few minutes and at the end a bunch of errors were fixed. Afterwards the disk was working exactly as it should once more!

FREEBIE FRIDAY! Manipulate divs dynamically and proportionally with Javascript.

What is it?

This is a script I’ve written to dynamically manipulate divs according to viewport height. Any property that can be set with a pixel value can be manipulated, e.g. height, margin, line-height or background-position, just to name a few. It has been tested in Internet Explorer 10, Firefox 24.0, Chrome 30, Opera 12.16 and Safari 5.1.7. It works great with my imgResize script and is available for free use, private or otherwise.

How to implement it

HTML markup and CSS styling

The first thing you need to do to make the script communicate with the divs on your webpage is to name those divs. In your HTML markup add an id to each div that will be manipulated. It should look something like this:

<div id=”div1“>

So far so good. The next step is to declare what properties of the div will be manipulated and by how much. This will actually be done in your CSS styling. For example:

#div1:before {
    content: ‘height .04900‘;
    display: none;

The parts in bold can be edited; everything else should be left alone. #div1 could well have a different name, for example. The important thing is that it references the div to be resized; this example correctly references the HTML markup example above it. In this example height is the property to be manipulated and .04900 the percentage value, i.e. 4.9%. The value must contain 5 digits. If the property name contains a dash, it should be written in camel case instead. For example, the CSS property “background-position” should be written as “backgroundPosition.”

In summary the combination of this HTML markup and this CSS styling, when correctly coupled with divManipulate.js would result in #div1 always taking up 4.9% of the viewport’s vertical space.

It is possible to manipulate up to two different properties for each div. For example, if we wanted #div1 to not only take up 4.9% of the viewport’s height, but also maintain a top margin of 1% of the viewport’s height, the complete code would look like this:

#div1:before {
    content: ‘height .04900‘;
    display: none;

#div1:after {
    content: ‘margin-top .01000‘;
    display: none;

Notice the keyword “after” following #div1: – when a div has two properties to be changed, the second should always use the keyword “after.”

Customizing the script

Upon opening divManipulate.js take a look at line 5. This is where you can enter the names of the divs to be resized. The names refer to the ids assigned to each div.

Inserting the script on your webpage

We want the script to execute automatically on page load so the user is immediately presented with a page tailor-made for the current size of his or her browser. We also want it to execute on page resize for real-time adaptation upon browser resize. To achieve these objectives we will be calling the script using the following code:

window.onload = function() {

window.onresize = function() {

We can place the above in the file containing the HTML (enclosed by <script> tags) or in its own .js file. Just make sure this code comes after the divManipulate.js script itself — we can only instruct it to call something it already knows about! It’s also important to note that divManipulate.js should come after any CSS styling.

Implementing it, summarized

  • In the HTML markup add an id to every div that will be manipulated.
  • For each div, declare the properties to be manipulated and by how much. If manipulating more than one property per div remember to use the keyword “before” for the first and “after” for the second. Remember also that the value should contain 5 digits.
  • Edit line 5 of divManipulate.js – div id names.
  • Use the following order inside the HEAD tags in your HTML markup:
    1. CSS styling
    2. divManipulate.js
    3. window.onload = function() {
      window.onresize = function() {


Color Spaces

If you’re like many people who work with photos and other images for print or the web, there’s a good chance you’re confused about color spaces. In fact, you might just ignore them altogether. I hope this article will help you get your head around the topic. Since I deal mostly with Photoshop and Lightroom, I will focus on these two programs and how color spaces relate to my own workflow. But no matter how you work with your images, I believe there is a lot of useful information here and I think you will get something out of it. Let’s jump right into it…



  • When an image is opened in Photoshop, the program assigns your current RGB Working Space to it if it doesn’t have an embedded profile. This behavior can be changed in Color Management Policies under Edit > Color Settings…
  • To change an existing image’s color profile, go to Edit > Convert to Profile (not Assign to Profile).
  • If your image is embedded with a color profile other than sRGB, Photoshop will automatically convert it to sRGB when you choose Save for Web. This is because most browsers have that as their default color space. However the conversion will change the colors of the image so it is better to change the image’s profile using Edit > Convert to Profile before using Save for Web.



  • Lightroom works in its own color space, which has a wide gamut. You don’t need to choose color settings or color profiles until you are ready to output your photos, i.e. exporting them or choosing to edit them externally. Color spaces for exported files can be chosen in the Export dialog box, while External Editing color spaces can be chosen in the External Editing tab of Lightroom’s Preferences.
  • When you are finished editing a photo outside of Lightroom, just choose Save to import it back into Lightroom. The color space will be retained. From Lightroom you can export it for different purposes and the program will automatically convert color spaces accurately. If you want to use Save for Web from within Photoshop, remember to choose Edit > Convert to Profile and choose sRGB first, otherwise the colors will be changed.
  • If you get a pop-up that says “This version of Lightroom may require the Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in version x for full compatibility” upon choosing Edit In > Photoshop from within Lightroom, here’s what it means and what you can do (thanks to Jim Wilde at the Lightroom Forums):

That message will always be issued whenever there’s an “ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) Mismatch” between Lightroom and Photoshop. In other words, this happens when the two programs are using different versions of the Camera Raw plug-in. When the ACR levels are in sync, what happens when you use “Edit in….” is that LR passes all the relevant information to PS which then uses its ACR plug-in to render the file into PS’s working space. This means that a new file (Tiff or PSD) isn’t actually created on disk and imported into Lightroom until you select “Save” in the PS file menu… in other words if you change your mind and close the file in PS without saving, no new file will exist.

However, you don’t have to upgrade PS or its ACR plug-in just to get the ACR levels in sync…..when you receive the mismatch warning in Lightroom, simply use the “Render using Lightroom” option. This uses Lightroom’s ACR engine to render the file, then passes that to PS for editing…..the only real consequence of doing this is that the rendered file (Tiff or PSD) is created by Lightroom (and appears in Lightroom) before it’s passed to PS for editing. If you edit and save in PS, no difference to a workflow that is in sync, but if you cancel out of the editing in PS you are now left with a Tiff/PSD in LR which you probably don’t want and so have to delete. Other than that, the workflow works fine.

Using “Open Anyway” means that Lightroom passes all the edit information to PS which then uses its ACR plug-in to render the file….however because the ACR plug-in is at a lower level than LR the consequence is that any LR edits done using tools that were introduced AFTER the ACR plug-in for your version of PS will not be understood by PS/ACR and so will be ignored.

Other useful stuff


  • Hex colors are just RGB colors written in a different format (example: pure red is written as “255, 0, 0” in RGB and “FF0000” in Hex).
  • Many cameras allow you to change the color space that photos are captured in. If you’re shooting RAW, you don’t need to worry about this; otherwise it’s a good idea to choose Adobe RGB (1998). That way your images will have a wider gamut of colors and you can always convert them to another color space from within Photoshop (recommended for displaying them on the web or printing in printers that don’t support or are not calibrated for Adobe RGB (1998)).
  • Range of colors (gamut) from smallest to largest: sRGB -> Adobe RGB (1998) -> ProPhoto RGB
  • A color space with a smaller gamut has the advantage that average monitors can display all its colors (what you see is pretty much what you get). Web browsers use sRGB so anything else doesn’t make sense if your images will be displayed on the web.
  • Color spaces with a large gamut have the advantage of… more colors. They are good for working on photos (especially with high-end monitors that can display all the colors) and for printing with high-end printers that support and are configured to take advantage of the large gamut.

More information

Check out these resources for other useful articles on color spaces: